Prolific Canadian actor Kenneth Welsh has died after a decades-long career on stage, television and the big screen. He was 80. Welsh passed peacefully last evening surrounded by those closest to him. ACTRA Toronto called the Edmonton-born Welsh “one of Canada’s all-time great performers, with hundreds of memorable roles spanning decades.” Welsh was born in Edmonton, Alberta, to a father who worked for the Canadian National Railway. He grew up in Alberta and studied drama at school. He later moved to Montreal and attended the National Theatre School. Following graduation, he auditioned for the Stratford Festival in Ontario and then spent the first seven years of his career on stage.
Welsh was one of those actors who has portrayed multiple historical figures including Thomas E. Dewey, Colin Thatcher, Harry S. Truman (twice), Thomas Edison, James “Scotty” Reston, General Harry Crerar and James Baker. He has made guest appearances on the acclaimed TV series Due South and Slings & Arrows. He often played men of authority & sometimes a villainous role. In 1984, he was nominated for a Genie Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of Reno Colt in the film Reno and the Doc, written and directed by Charles Dennis. In 1997, Welsh directed Dennis in the latter’s play SoHo Duo at the West Bank Theatre in New York City. In 2003, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
His role as the Vice-President of the United States in the 2004 environmental disaster film The Day After Tomorrow sparked some controversy due to his physical resemblance to Dick Cheney, who at the time was the Vice-President. In science fiction he has had appearances in ReGenesis, Stargate : Atlantis & most recently in Star Trek Discovery.